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Wolfendale Sheila & Bastiani John (dir.) (2000). The contributions of parents to school effectiveness. London : David Fulton. 
Added by: Agnès Cavet (01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 Europe/Paris)   Last edited by: Agnès Cavet (26 Apr 2007 13:11:19 Europe/Paris)
Resource type: Book
BibTeX citation key: Wolfendale2000
Categories: General
Keywords: Grande Bretagne, parents
Creators: Bastiani, Wolfendale
Publisher: David Fulton (London)
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"The core mission of this book, the originality of which is the exploration of the links between parental involvement and school effectiveness , is to examine ‘what works?’ and ‘how we know it works’.
This is more than an academic text. It takes the reader on a journey through the government initiatives which involve parents (National Literacy Strategy and family literacy, National Numeracy Strategy and family numeracy, SureStart, education action zones, baseline assessment , home–school agreements) to the practice at both local education authority (LEA) and school level. Part 1 provides a theoretica l perspective , part 2 explores the examples of parental partnership practice and part 3 focuses on literacy and learning.
One of the strengths of the book is the authors’ honesty in reporting the outcomes of the studies. Each acknowledge s the difŽ culties of quantifying the positive effects of parental involvement on school effectiveness . However, qualitativ e data expoundin g the value of parental partnership to schools, parents and children ’s achievement is recorded in abundance . Chapter 4, which reports the Birmingham LEA initiative, INSPIRE (Involving School Parents in Reading and Maths), is particularly inspiring! For too long, too many schools have erected and maintained barriers to keep parents ‘in their place’ at the school gates. A carefully planned and effectively implemented parent partnership with schools, as part of a whole LEA approach, as reported here, will empower parents in an all too frequently unequal partnership . It can only be hoped that other LEAs are already implementing such a project.
A disappointing feature of the book, the lack of direct comments from parents, was not remedied until reaching p. 73 in chapter 5! Parents’ comments are reported by teachers in the previous chapter, but are they an adequate substitute for direct quotations which may have been spoken with passion? One has to wonder why, overall, so little space is dedicated to parental views when here was a golden opportunity to provide the parents with a platform. Likewise, only one reference is made to direct feedback from children. The absence of their perspectiv e on the contribution of parents to school effectivenes s is
puzzling. As current legislation continues to grant children a voice, to exclude them as participants in such projects as reported here is a bewildering omission.
Nonetheless, this book achieves its mission. It is a most readable text relevant to both teacher educator s and trainees alike. If we are to erase the prejudice s that some teachers still display towards parents in schools, as referred to in a number of the chapters, particularly where there is no LEA or school initiative to pay more than lip service to parental involvement, then initial teacher education has a huge part to play."

Book review by JAN HEWSON
University of Derby
Added by: Agnès Cavet  Last edited by: Agnès Cavet
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